According to a recent study conducted by web analytics company StatCounter Global Stats, for the first time, internet usage on mobile devices has exceeded usage on desktop worldwide.

StatCounter Global Stats found that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3 percent of worldwide internet usage in October, compared to the 48.7 percent usage via desktop.

StatCounter’s core business is to supply companies, agencies, bloggers, self-employed and charities with data to measure activity on their website, blog or forum. Key features include a free option, ease of use, independence and ability to view individual visitors in real time.

Stats are based on aggregate data that is collected by the StatCounter on a sample exceeding 15 billion page views per month collected from across the StatCounter network that spans over 2.5 million websites. The data is updated and made available every four hours, but is subject to quality assurance testing and revision for 14 days from publication.

The stats— launched in 2009— show how quickly the way people connect to the internet and how that has changed over time. Initially, desktop held nearly 100 percent of the internet access market, with mobile at over 1 percent.

After seven years and in a sharp contrast, desktop usage is just at 48.7 percent while mobile usage has increased to 51.3 percent. Given the significant growth of mobile and tablet devices, the internet consumption pattern has also changed by leaps and bounds.

It is also interesting to note that while these stats represent the overall worldwide usage, they are largely influenced by countries. Statistics show more mature markets, such as Australia, US and UK that still use desktop computers as their primary mode of using the internet. In developing markets such as India, very few people own desktops and mobile devices represent over 75% of all internet usage.

Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, echoes what SEOs and marketers have been saying for years now — mobile needs to be a priority for more businesses,

This should be a wakeup call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.

As the reach of mobile devices has increased, a lot of emphasis is now laid on making the content more mobile friendly. Cullen added that the data underlined the importance for all businesses to optimize their web pages for mobile devices, especially as Google favors mobile-friendly websites in its mobile search results.

Previous statistics indicate that 12.5 million Australians aged 18 and over accessed the internet on their smartphones for both business and leisure in September 2015, while 7 million accessed the internet via a tablet.

However, StatCounter’s figures show that desktop— which came in at 55.1 percent usage— is still the primary mode of internet usage in Australia.

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